It was the early 1990s. Snowboarding, once the pariah of the snow sports industry, was just starting to move into the mainstream. A new breed of snow stars was emerging, along with new magazines and movies that promoted snowboarder culture.
Talent got noticed early, and when it came to the females in the sport, Victoria Jealouse was in a league of her own almost from the beginning. Although the league has gotten a lot bigger over the years, Jealouse still stands alone as one of the top big mountain riders in the sport.
Shes a member of the Whistler-Blackcomb Pro Team as well as a 12-year veteran with Burtons Global Team. Her list of video and magazine credits is as long as any pro riders in the biz (over 22 movies and counting) and she hasnt showed any signs of slowing down. If anything, she says, shes getting better with every year.
"You cant stagnate," she says. "You have to keep pushing yourself every day you ride. The only way its satisfying for me is if I keep learning, keep progressing.
"I still get scared out there sometimes, if a line is super-exposed or tight through some rocks or something, but sometimes thats what you need to bring out your best.
"So many things have to come together to have a great run. It just feels like Im still learning and that so many pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together for me."
Several members of the Burton Global Team were in Whistler last week for a company marketing meeting. Although Jealouse calls Whistler home, she spends so much time on the road that the conference provided a rare opportunity to catch up with the girl that Powder Magazine called "the worlds preeminent big mountain rider, laying down lines and accomplishing feats no other female skier or snowboarder can match." High praise from a magazine that caters mainly to skiers.
Some of Jealouses appeal no doubt has something to do with her obvious appeal five foot one, blonde and stunningly beautiful. But its her ability to shred the most technical backcountry lines that has really gotten her the most attention over the years. As far as the industry is concerned, shes the real deal.
It didnt start out that way. Jealouse has had to work to gain the respect of filmmakers, pro riders and the industry by bravely going where no woman has gone before.
Jealouse started out as a ski racer, and tried snowboarding for the first time in 1989. She made the switch permanently the following year, and the year after that she headed to Europe with her alpine board to race in giant slalom events.